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'Unprecedented' interest in Sevens - IRB
ESPN Staff
January 22, 2014
England have emerged as a competitive Sevens nation © Getty Images

The IRB has announced 'unprecedented' interest in hosting future Sevens World Series rounds and the 2018 Sevens World Cup ahead of the next Olympic Games.

The shorter format of the game has been enjoying a surge in popularity in recent years, with the most recent Sevens World Series accumulating over 4,500 hours of airtime across 149 territories - a record television audience. A rise in interest and investment in the sport has in doubt been down to the inclusion of the game at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

The World Cup Sevens enjoyed great success in Moscow last year, with the next being scheduled for 2018, in the middle of an Olympic cycle, which has already garnered huge interest from potential host nations. With interest in Sevens showing no signs of slowing down IRB chairman Bernard Lapassett is excited to see the next chapter of the sport's growth.

"These are exciting times for a sport that continues to enjoy strong growth in participation, profile, commercial and broadcast appeal around the world and Rugby Sevens has been an integral part of this," Lapasset said.

"Since the IOC voted to include Rugby Sevens on the Olympic Games programme we have experienced unprecedented interest from unions and cities across all continents wishing to host one of our major men's and women's properties.

"International Rugby Sevens is truly competitive, showcasing great skill and speed to full, vibrant stadia and strong and ever growing global broadcast audiences and that is why we believe that Rugby Sevens will be a great fit for the Olympic Games and the Olympic Games will be great for rugby."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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